All Features


  PlayStation 3
  PlayStation 4
  Wii U
  Xbox 360
  Xbox One


Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen

Score: 90%
ESRB: Mature
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Action/ RPG/ Online

Graphics & Sound:

Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen finally ports the popular action RPG to the PC complete with all of the DLC that has come out since the game's original release in 2012.

Dragon's Dogma does a fantastic job of not only making your immediate surroundings look great, but it also does a good job showing structures and landmarks off in the distance to really sell the scale of the world around you.

Another point of note is the detail in the characters that inhabit this world. Everything from other humans to monstrous beasts look spectacular and are full of detail, and while some of the more minor items that are scattered about the world (like the various flowers and plants you can harvest) can all start to look the same, this really isn't all that big of a hit to the game's overall feel.

On the audio side, you can choose between a variety of voice styles for both your character your primary Pawn, and while the dialogue itself can quickly get repetitive, at least hearing different Pawns' voices say the same lines adds a bit of variety to the mix. The game's background music seems to fit the different situations you will find yourself in, but you won't find yourself humming any of the musical scores after you've turned off the game.


Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen's story is set in a world filled with mythical creatures that seem hell bent on causing chaos wherever they go. The most feared and powerful of these creatures are dragons. These massive beasts seem to appear out of nowhere and leave a wake of havoc in their path. When the game's story starts, you will find yourself in a small fishing village, and among the first victims of a new dragon attack. When your character actually stands up to the beast, it brands you and challenges you to get better and stronger if you truly wish to face it in real battle.

With this branding, you become the newest member of a strange set of heroes known as Arisen. These fighters are rare and it seems that knowledge of them and their purpose is mostly lost to history. One thing seems to be clear though, they are tied to a strange race of people that come from another dimension. These people, Pawns, enter the world through strange stones and they have very little will of their own. While they can be used to help people around them, it seems their primary purpose is to help and fight alongside Arisen.

As you progress in your story, you will not only learn more about what it means to be Arisen, but you will also start to uncover some of the mystery behind the Pawns as well. While these Pawns add an interesting squad-based combat element to the game, they also act as a fairly unique form of multiplayer. You see, while these Pawns are completely A.I.-controlled, they are the creations of other Dragon's Dogma players. Similarly, your own Pawn will end up being picked up and used by other players. Once a Pawn is released and returned to its user, it will bring with it experience, currency and often a gift.

As for your character, you can choose between one of several classes that range from magic users, to fighters, to rangers, and eventually you can expand into hybrid classes that will take on traits from more than one type. With each vocation, you will unlock a variety of attacks and you will also find yourself constantly hunting for the next best piece of equipment.

While I found the setting of Dragon's Dogma expansive and impressive, I did find that this led to a good bit of directionless wandering and backtracking. The sheer amount of side quests this game offers is outstanding, even if a good chunk of them are simply to kill some number of enemies. Unfortunately, there really isn't anything separating your side quests from your main story quests, so while the game is very helpful in telling you where to go when you've got a quest selected, the more important quests tend to get lost in the clutter that is your Quest List. As a result, I found myself going off in a lot of different directions without progressing the overall plot until I happened to figure out which quest was the one that really mattered. While having a ton of side quests is good, not being able to focus on the main story when I wanted to left me feeling like I wasn't making any real traction on more than one occasion.


While Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen doesn't actively keep you from wandering into areas that are too difficult for your current skills, there are some areas that simply remain locked off to you until you've hit necessary story points (which can be an issue given the above complaint about the multitude of quests). That being said, just because you can go into an area, it doesn't mean that you will be able to get past the collection of bandits and monsters that inhabit that particular part of the map. Thankfully, and I hate to admit it, but creep-and-save works well in this game and there were several cases where I went into a new area and restored the save I made just before getting my Arisen arse kicked so that I could just turn tail and run.

That being said, if the story says you should be in an area, then there is a good chance that you will find yourself well-matched with the enemies around you. If you find yourself having trouble, you could either level grind some in an earlier part of the map, or choose some different Pawns to help your team work a little differently.

Game Mechanics:

One thing Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen excels in is the combat. Each character has a primary and secondary weapon and as you learn new skills, different attacks can be associated with three different commands. Getting familiar with your character's attacks and keeping an eye on your stamina is the key to taking out even the biggest enemies this game has to offer.

To make the combat even smoother, your companion Pawns are just as decked out and skilled as you are. While you can give your squad mates basic commands like "Go" or "Come Here," unless you are trying out some specific piece of strategy (like holding back to keep a beast from hitting everyone), you won't need to direct them too much. In fact, there are quite a few times when they will ask you to help since they will have an enemy pinned and ready for you to deal some massive attack. As a whole, the combat dynamics of Dragon's Dogma function as a well-oiled machine that is a blast to use.

Overall, Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen is a fun RPG that any fan of the genre should really enjoy playing. It has a ton of content, a great combat system, and a multiplayer aspect that helps to keep gameplay fresh. While the sheer amount of side quests can quickly lead to you getting lost in the weeds (sometimes literally), it does add a lot of content to the game.

-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

Minimum System Requirements:

Windows Vista, Intel Core i5 660 CPU or equivalent, 4 GB RAM, Radeon HD 5870 or equivalent, DirectX Version 9.0c, Broadband Internet connection, 20 GB available hard drive space, DirectX-compatible Sound Card or Onboard Audio Chip

Test System:

Windows 8.1 64-bit, Intel i7-4770K 3.5GHz, 8 GB RAM, Radeon HD 5870 Graphics Card, DirectX 11

Related Links:

Microsoft Xbox One AIPD iPad Royal Trouble: Hidden Honeymoon Havoc HD

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated